Consider it a “farewell tour” of sorts for the cocktail hotspot that announce it would close in January.
When London’s Dandelyan took home the title of “World’s Best Bar” in this year’s World’s 50 Best Bars announcement, the choice wasn’t a huge surprise: The cocktail hotspot had crept up the list over its four-year history, including taking the #3 spot in 2016 and the #2 spot in 2017. Working its way to #1 almost seemed inevitable. What didn’t seem inevitable, however, was what happened just days before: Ryan Chetiyawardana (also known as Mr Lyan), had announced he’d be shutting his bar down come January — eventually reopening with a new concept in the same space.
For people outside of London, the race to hit up the best bar in the world before it closed was on — a tall order for people outside of England. But Americans across the pond won't be completely shut out: Mr Lyan and his crew have announced they’ll be launching a special pop-up version of Dandelyan for two days only on November 26 and 27, taking over Washington, D.C. speakeasy The Gibson — an event that will simultaneously celebrate that bar’s tenth anniversary.
The pop-up plans to “recreate the Dandelyan experience” with “a menu designed around a ‘Modern Life of Plants’ concept that aims to explore industrialization and large-scale food systems.” The menu will feature three sections: Mint, Grape, and Hops, “with ingredients ranging from moss vermouth to cream of snails.” The pop-up will run from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and will be open to the public on a “first come first served” basis.
I caught up with Chetiyawardana via email between his recent travels to get the lowdown on this pop-up as well as the future of Dandelyan.
Mike Pomranz: Why America? And specifically, why Washington DC?
Ryan Chetiyawardana: The U.S. (like the U.K.) is always exciting from a food and drink perspective, and especially so now with the public interest in cocktails, ingredients and culture so high. With this in mind, I’ve always been attracted to capital cities and after a talk there a few months ago, I fell in love with the city and its bars and it felt very different to other U.S. cities I’d visited, so was really excited by some discussions we had with the bartenders there to come across and work together on something. The final pop-ups of Dandelyan seemed perfect!
MP: Would you call this a “farewell tour” of sorts? Will there be other stops?
RC: Yes indeed! We’re so proud of Dandelyan — it’s a huge reflection of my own personality and the team’s amazing creativity — and although it’s definitely time for it to end and become something else, we want to do some final events to see it out in style.
MP: How closely will the cocktail menu at the pop-up resemble the menu at the actual Dandelyan?
RC: It’ll definitely reflect our approach — and that’s the heart and essence of Dandelyan — but we’re excited to marry that with U.S. produce, and to collaborate with the team at Gibson to marry the best of both worlds.
MP: Lastly, come on, spill the beans: What’s next after Dandelyan?
RC: Lots next! It’s very exciting! But at the moment it’s about focusing on seeing out Dandelyan in the appropriate way. I’ll share more news sometime early next year, but there’s so many moving parts before we’ll have a definitive date. Plus, we have more parties and celebrations to focus on before then!
Dandelyan's farewell pop-up will be located at The Gibson, 2009 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009.